COVID-19 restrictions eased in Victoria

COVID-19 restrictions eased in Victoria
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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has eased a raft of COVID-19 restrictions today. 

From midnight Sunday, rules around mask wearing will be loosened and private gatherings increased from two visitors per household to 15 while up to 50 people will be allowed to gather outside.

Victorian residents will be allowed to ditch their mask when they venture outside so long as social distancing is possible, but they will still be required to wear them indoors and in crowded settings including on public transport.

Other changes include increasing patronage at indoor gyms from 20 to 150 and weddings and funerals will soon be allowed to have 150 attendees – depending on the venue size.

Victorian Liberal leader Michael O’Brien has criticised the “long, harsh lockdown” in Victoria as new rules are set to come into force overnight.

“It’s great that Victoria is starting to come back after such a long, harsh lockdown,” he said in a social media post.

“But does Crown Casino deserve greater easing of restrictions than a church, temple, synagogue or mosque? Daniel Andrews says yes. I say no. Let me know what you think.”

Outdoor sport has been given the green light with up to 500 people – in groups of 50 – allowed to take part in sporting events. But only 150 can take part if it’s indoors.

The same goes for restaurants, cafes, bars with up to 150 allowed indoors, with a total capacity of 300 including outdoors. However, only 50 people will be allowed inside smaller venues.

The limits at community centres, galleries, cinemas, libraries and places of worship will increase to groups of no more than 20 people, with the total number of patrons capped at 150.

“Religious ceremonies can take place indoors with 150 people and outdoors with 300 people,” Mr Andrews said.

The Premier also announced the number of visitors allowed in a home will rise from two people to 15 visitors each day. This will increase to 30 per day from 11.59pm on December 13. 

Meanwhile, South Australia’s lockdown lifted at midnight. There were no new cases announced on Sunday linked to Adelaide’s Parafield cluster, and one new case in a medi-hotel acquired overseas. 

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Benjamin Graham

A senior journalist has choked back tears on live television as she spoke a heart-breaking story about the death of a three-year-old boy in Melbourne.

Thomas Collins, whose family is from Queensland, died in a Melbourne hospital following desperate attempts to get him home failed.

The Herald Sun reported the story first, writing that the family temporarily moved to Victoria just before the pandemic so their son could receive treatment at the Royal Children’s’ Hospital that was not available in their home state.

When it was clear he wouldn’t survive after he had brain surgery, he was given the all-clear to go home by doctors but the Queensland government failed to act in time.

The Age reporter Jessica Irvine held back tears as she spoke about the tragic story on the Today show this morning.

“No real mercy was shown by the Queensland government when the family did request to come back,” she said.

“I mean, it is again this hard line sort of policies that we have got that. We sort of understand the reason for but these are the really human stories that get caught up and it just breaks my heart.

“I have a hard time thinking about the parents in this case. And they have lost their little one and now when they go home to visit their family they have got 14 days where they will have got 14 days where they will have to self-isolate and I just send them all my best wishes.

“It is a very, very difficult consequence of the times that we are living in.”

Benjamin Graham

It’s been a long wait for those of us itching to travel overseas, but there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.

Senior federal cabinet minister Simon Birmingham revealed overnight that we may be able to travel by next year.

He said early next year was possible but challenging and will depend on the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines.

“Then of course the manufacturing rollout, distribution, uptake, all the other factors that come into how it is that a vaccine could change the way we look at things around this pandemic,” he told Sky News.

“It’s not impossible … I think the first half may be challenging.”

He said international students could also return, but the priority should be on getting Australians home.

“Getting those Australians, particularly those who might be in challenging or distressed circumstances home is a genuine priority,” he said.

“But if we can see fast enough movement in terms of the bringing down of that list of returning Australians then I would like nothing more than to see international students able to safely come through proven processes.”

Benjamin Graham

The first flight for the day from Brisbane is touching down in Sydney later this morning but it is still a mystery as to when people in NSW will be able to travel to the Sunshine State.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has slammed her counterpart’s border stance as the state records 15 days without any locally-acquired COVID cases.

“I just don’t even understand how they make their decisions up there. It’s beyond my level of understanding,” she told reporters yesterday.

“They’re making up stuff as they go. They keep changing the rules, they keep espousing advice I have never heard of.”

Sarah McPhee

Victorian Liberal leader Michael O’Brien has slammed Premier Dan Andrews ahead of rule changes in Victoria that will come in overnight.

“Victorians have done the hard yards to defeat Labor’s second wave,” he commented.

“Our numbers are now lower than NSW. We should have restrictions that reflect that.”

He pointed out some apparent double standards in the rules, which judging by the comments on the post, some Victorians are not happy with.

“It’s great that Victoria is starting to come back after such a long, harsh lockdown,” he said in a social media post.

“But does Crown Casino deserve greater easing of restrictions than a church, temple, synagogue or mosque? Daniel Andrews says yes. I say no. Let me know what you think.”

One person commented: “I don’t understand how places like restaurants, churches, homes are restricted when you know exactly who’s there but you go shopping with a bunch of strangers touching everything and that’s ok.”

Benjamin Graham

WA Premier Mark McGowan has confirmed that there were zero local cases and two overseas cases on WA COVID-19 on Sunday.

That brings the state’s active cases to 18.

Benjamin Graham

South Australian police have revealed that a total of almost $170,000 in COVID-19 penalties were handed out in just three days of Adelaide’s short-lived lockdown.

More than $100,000 in fines were handed out on the final day of the lockdown.

A further 157 $1080 fines were handed out to individuals and businesses caught doing the wrong thing.

SA Police say 337 fines were issued for breaches over the three days.

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